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Decision No: 97/15C
Practitioner: Dr Daluwatumullegamage Ravindra Ramyasiri
Charge Characteristics: Sexual misconduct
Additional Orders: Interim suspension of registration: 9715csusminlaw
Decision: 9715cfindings
Supplementary Penalty Decision: 9715cfindingssupcond

 

Charge:  

A CAC charged that Dr Ramyasiri was convicted by the High Court of the following offences:

  1. On 24th March 1988 at Levin indecently assaulting a woman then over the age of 16 years.
  2. On 24th March 1988 at Levin sexually violating the woman by unlawful sexual connection with her, occasioned by the penetration of her vagina by his finger otherwise than for bonafide medical purposes.
  3. Between 11th April 1991 and 31st May 1993 at Levin indecently assaulting a girl then aged between 12 and 16 years by fondling and caressing her breasts.

And the circumstances of the offences reflect adversely on the practitioner's fitness to practice medicine being disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

 

Background: 

On 10 February 1997 Dr Ramyasiri was tried by jury in the High Court. He was convicted of three charges against the Crimes Act 1961:

Section 135(a) Indecent assault (19 year old)
Section 134(2)(a) Indecent Assault (15 year old)
Section 128(1)(b) Sexual Violation

He was sentenced to a total term of imprisonment of two years (1 years for each indecent assault charge and 2 years for the sexual violation charge, the sentences to be served concurrently).

 

Finding: 

The Tribunal held that the convictions were decisive that Dr Ramyasiri was guilty of conduct which reflects adversely on his fitness to practice medicine.

 

Penalty: 

Dr Ramyasiri's registration was suspended for an additional period of eight months from the date of the hearing. In addition he was censured, ordered to pay 50% of the costs and expenses of and incidental to the inquiry and hearing, and publication in the New Zealand Medical Journal was ordered.

The Tribunal further ordered that Dr Ramyasiri may, for a period not exceeding three years, practice medicine only with such conditions to be specified by the Tribunal in a final order which was to be issued prior to the expiry of the period of further suspension.

The Tribunal considered that removal of Dr Ramyasiri's name from the register was not warranted in this case. The Tribunal considered striking off to be an option of last resort when for example, it may be considered that the doctor is incapable of rehabilitation. The Tribunal found that it is not the function of the Tribunal to punish. The exercise of its powers is not by way of punishment but rather to enforce a high standard of propriety and professional conduct. The Tribunal took into account the fact that Dr Ramyasiri had served a term of imprisonment, the apparent low risk of re-offending, and the high level of support Dr Ramyasiri received from his local community.

The Tribunal stated that the purpose of the suspension order was primarily to assist Dr Ramyasiri in his rehabilitation, as well as to underline the seriousness and unacceptability of his conduct.

 

Final Order on Penalty: 

Dr Ramyasiri undertook to submit himself for referral to and be bound by the Medical Council's Assessment and Rehabilitation Programme.

After considering a report from the Medical Council's Assessment and Rehabilitation programme, the Tribunal imposed the following conditions on Dr Ramyasiri's practise of medicine for three years from the expiry of his suspension:

  1. Dr Ramyasiri must practise medicine only in a position approved by the Medical Council which meet the following criteria:
    1. In a group or team environment where Dr Ramyasiri is not at any time practising alone without the on-site presence of another registered medical practitioner.
    2. Clinical supervision is provided on-site at all times and the supervisor is willing to provide progress reports to the Medical Council at stated intervals.
    3. The supervisor(s) confirms to the Council in writing that they have informed current permanent staff and will inform future permanent staff about the nature and content of the conditions imposed by the Tribunal. Practice staff to be given permission by Dr Ramyasiri to inform the Council if they have concerns about Dr Ramyasiri's practise or conduct.
    4. No member of Dr Ramyasiri's family to be involved as a member of the team.
    5. Employees are not employed from amongst his patients.
  2. Dr Ramyasiri must have a chaperone present during physical examination of women. A notice to this effect must be displayed in the waiting room for patient's information.
  3. Dr Ramyasiri not to undertake any long-term counselling of patients without the appointment of a supervisor for such counselling.
  4. Dr Ramyasiri must have a mentor arranged through the Medical Council's mentoring co-ordinator. The mentoring co-ordinator to report to the Council about Dr Ramyasiri's progress.
  5. Dr Ramyasiri must enter an education programme designed to fulfil the re-accreditation requirements of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and attend regular meetings of his peer group.
  6. Dr Ramyasiri must not provide general oversight for any other doctor requiring such oversight, in any branch of medicine, nor is he to be appointed as supervisor for any probationary registrant.
  7. Dr Ramyasiri to submit a 'safety plan' to the Council by 16 February 1999.